On Sunday, Bill Clinton unleashed a tirade aimed at people who he alleges are Sanders supporters who he said are making “vicious” and “sexist” comments to Clinton supporters online.
“People who have gone online to explain, just explain why they support her have been subject to vicious trolling and attacks that are literally too profane often, not to mention sexist, to repeat,” the former president explained at a campaign event in Milford, New Hampshire.
He referred to an editorial in the Nation, in which Joan Walsh wrote that “social-media trolls have had several fascinating and stunningly sexist reactions” to her daughter’s support of Hillary Clinton.
Although Bill Clinton did not mention the group by name, it seemed he was referring to the so-called “Bernie Bros” -- a term used by some Clinton allies to disparage some male Sanders supporters who allegedly write sexist comments to Clinton supporters online.
According to examples of these comments provided by the pro-Clinton opposition research group, Correct the Record, one user on Reddit wrote: “When it comes to political behavior, Hillary has always just been Richard Nixon in a dress.” Another wrote: “Hillary without her makeup would be frightening.”
It is unclear how widespread such commentary is online, and Sanders repudiated it.
"It's disgusting. We don't want that crap,” Sanders said during an interview on CNN on Sunday when asked about the so-called “Bernie Bros.” "Look, anybody who is supporting me who is doing sexist things ... we don't want them. I don't want them. That is not what this campaign is about.”
Even so, Clinton’s surrogates hit the talking point hard over the weekend as Clinton campaigned in New Hampshire with a star-studded squad of female politicians and activists.
"Just remember, there’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help each other,” former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said at a campaign event on Saturday, using her famous line to pressure young women into voting for Clinton.
"You've heard of Bernie's bros? We are Hillary's sisters," New Hampshire Sen. Jeanne Shaheen said on Friday, standing alongside equal-pay activist Lilly Ledbetter, Emily’s List President Stephanie Shriock, New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan and U.S. Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand, Amy Klobuchar and Debbie Stabenow.
Gloria Steinem also got in on the action, suggesting on Facebook that young women are only supporting Sanders to meet "boys." (She later apologized for this remark and said it was "misinterpreted.”) As did the first female governor of Vermont, who wrote an op-Ed in the Boston Globe accusing Sanders of sexism when she ran against him 30 years ago and saying Clinton has it harder because she’s a woman.
Hillary Clinton, herself, weighed in, too.
“There is still a huge double standard,” Clinton told a voter in a town hall when at the New England College about running for president as a woman.
She mentioned a blog post a friend sent to her about a Sanders supporter who likes the Vermont senator because he yells a lot and has messy hair.
"My friend said, ‘Boy that would really work for any woman running,’” Clinton retorted sarcastically.